Image stablization

The Pentax K-1 II is the only full frame DSLR - aside from its predecessor - to offer in-body stabilization, something more commonly found in mirrorless cameras. We ran the K-1 II through our standard image stabilization test and found it gave us between 2.3 and 3.6 stops of added stability depending on focal length. This is pretty similar to the Sony a7 III's in-body stabilization performance.

Key takeaways:

  • At 24mm IBIS provides ~2.3-stops of stabilization. You can expect 50% or greater of your shots to be acceptably sharp down to 1/4 sec at 24mm with IS on.
  • At 50mm IBIS provides ~3.6-stops of stabilization. You can expect 50% or greater of your shots to be acceptably sharp down to 1/8 sec at 50mm with IS on.
  • At 200mm IBIS provides between 2.3 and 2.6-stops of stabilization. You can expect 50% or greater of your shots to be acceptably sharp down to 1/50 sec with IS on.

Stabilization in-depth

Our standard image stabilization test is done by shooting 10 frames at our test target, starting with one over the focal length and working our way downward in intervals of 2/3-stops using a neutral density filter (to maintain the same aperture). We first did this with IS on, and then with IS off. The images were then assessed to the following standard:

Excellent Some softness
Noticeable blur Unusable

1) Excellent - the best the camera is capable of
2) Some softness - only distinguishable from Excellent by comparison
3) Noticeable blur - blur can be perceived without reference to another image
4) Unusable - significant motion perceptible

24mm Equivalent
50mm Equivalent
200mm Equivalent
Stabilization On Stabilization On Stabilization On
Stabilization Off Stabilization Off Stabilization Off

Note: Our assessment of real-world stabilization performance always gives results significantly lower than figures derived from CIPA test methodology.

After rating the images shot in our IS test, we look for a comparable pattern of success (50% of shots or greater rated acceptably sharp) between IS On and IS Off.

At 24mm with IS on, we would likely have maintained a 50% hit rate down to 1/4 sec (60% at 1/5 and 40% at 1/3). With IS off it hits 50% at 1/20 sec. This gives it a 2.3 stop advantage at 24mm.

At 50mm, we maintained a 50% or greater hit rate down to 1/8 sec with IS on. We weren't able to get any usably sharp images with IS off, even at one over the focal length possibly due to the heft of the camera lens + combo (K-1 II + 24-70mm F2.8 = 4 lbs or 1800g). Needless to say, we estimated we'd be able to achieve a 50% hit rate with IS off by two over the focal length or 1/100 sec at 50mm. This would result in a ~3.6-stop IS advantage at 50mm.

At 200mm, we maintained 50% or greater down to 1/50 sec with IS on. But we ran into a similar issue of not being able to achieve 50% or greater with IS off at the focal lengths we tested: at 1/200 sec the hit rate is 30%. But figuring conservatively, we'd likely achieve 50% or greater by 1/250 sec or 1/320 sec, which would equate to between 2.3 and 2.6-stops of stabilization at 200mm.